How to Get Started With

I bet you have more needs at your nonprofit than you can shake a stick at.

You have programs that need to be funded, special projects to undertake and maybe equipment or vehicles you’d like to have.

Sometimes you can get a foundation to fund those particular needs, but most of the time, the most effective and efficient use of your time is creating a major gifts campaign to raise that money.

Yep, I’m talking about getting face-to-face with a donor, telling them the story, then asking for a gift. As far as return on investment, there’s not much you can do that will bring in more results for the investment of time you put into it.

The biggest question most people have is “How do I get started?”

They know there’s a right way to go about putting a major gifts campaign together and they want to know what it is. Here are the basic steps you need to take in planning for this unique type of fundraising.


  1. The first thing you must do is determine the need. Be specific here. What is it that you need to raise money for? Is it a new program? Or an expansion of an existing program? Do you need a specific piece of equipment? Get very clear about the specific need you want to address with a major gifts campaign.
  2. Next, outline the cost. What will it cost for the program or project? Be sure to include both direct and indirect expenses. In other words, if you need a new vehicle to transport clients, don’t just include the cost of the vehicle – also include tags, title, license, insurance, maintenance, and the staff driver’s time.
  3. Finally, before you approach any donor, get your case for support ready. Be ready to answer the donor’s questions about the program or project and why they should support it.


After planning, you’re ready to target the donors you want to approach then go talk to them. And it’s that simple.

It doesn’t have to be hard or complicated.I’ve found over the years that many of us want to make major gift work much scarier than it really is.

Just remember this: these donors care very much about your organization and WANT to see you be successful. Treat them like the best friends your nonprofit has and you’ll soon be beaming with prid

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